Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982)

A retrospective look at 60 years of great moments in film comedy, from the 1920s to the present.


Jack Haley Jr.
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Carol Burnett ... Herself - Co-Hostess
Jack Lemmon ... Himself - Co-Host
Walter Matthau ... Himself - Co-Host
Burt Reynolds ... Himself - Co-Host
Dom DeLuise ... Himself - Co-Host
Richard Pryor ... Hinself - Co-Host


Several hosts, noted for their own contributions to film comedy themselves (Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Jack Lemmon, etc.) host this three part epic documentary, which takes viewers from the studios of comedic pioneers Mack Sennett and Hal Roach. The careers of individual early comics like Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are covered through the 30s with W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy up through then current performers like Jack Lemmon, Mel Brooks, and Woody Allen. Clips from such all-time classics as "Some Like It Hot," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and "Private Benjamin" are highlighted. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Release Date:

16 May 1982 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The test footage of Sellers as Napoleon is from an undetermined film... possibly Stanley Kubrick's proposed 1969 film on the French emperor, which was never made. In the original Casino Royale, Peter Sellers played Evelyn Tremble, who was supposed to impersonate James Bond. While being tested by the character played by Ursula Andress, he was required to dress as Napoleon, which is where this footage may have come from. See more »


Opening prologue: This film is dedicated to the thousands of filmmakers, craftsmen, and technicians who accomplished the most difficult job in motion pictures... they made us laugh.
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Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to those thousands of filmmakers, artists, craftsmen, and technicians who accomplished the most difficult job in motion pictures...They made us laugh. See more »

Alternate Versions

The documentary was shown both in full length and later in three installments of 47 minutes each with the same opening and closing montages repeated. See more »


Features Silent Movie (1976) See more »


Comedy Tonight
Written by Stephen Sondheim
Performed by Zero Mostel
Heard under lengthy opening comedic montage
See more »

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